Royals reportedly sign Dominican Republic shortstop

Baseball America and MLB.com reported that the Royals signed shortstop Ricky Aracena out of the Dominican Republic on Thursday.

Aracena, 16, reportedly received $850,000. On MLB.com’s top 30 international prospects list Aracena was ranked No. 24. Aracena is 5 feet, 8 inches, and 155 pounds, but he received high marks for his hitting.

In its rankings, MLB.com wrote: “Scouts like Aracena’s switch-hitting abilities and that he has shown equal bat speed and homer power from both sides. He has impressed evaluators with his sound approach at the plate and his ability to drive the ball from gap to gap during Dominican Prospect League games.”

Baseball America had Aracena ranked No. 17 on its list of international prospects. He has drawn comparisons to Rafael Furcal and Jose Altueve.

Thursday’s games

**Whit Merrifield’s double in the top of the ninth inning scored Francisco Pena and capped a two-run rally as Class AAA Omaha won 4-3 at Iowa. Jimmy Paredes opened the ninth with a walk, and after an out, moved to third on a wild pitch and an error. Pena then singled home Paredes. After an out, Merrifield doubled. Aaron Brooks allowed three runs on seven hits in five innings. He struck out six and walked one. Buddy Baumann (two innings, no hits), Wilking Rodriguez (one inning, one hit) and Louis Coleman (one inning, one walk) shut down the Cubs from there.

**J.C. Sulbaran gave up three runs (two earned) on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings, but took the loss as Class AA Northwest Arkansas was beaten 3-1 by Midland. Sulbaran allowed eight hits, walked three and struck out six. Angel Franco and Edinson Rincon each had two hits.

**Luis Rico gave up just one run on four hits in 6 1/3 innings, but reliever Kevin Perez gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits over 2 2/3 innings as Class A Lexington lost 3-2 to Greensboro. Third baseman Mauricio Ramos and right fielder Elier Hernandez each had two hits and the Legends had 11 total. But they were one for eight with runners in scoring position. Ramos hit his fourth homer of the year.

**Ryan O’Hearn had four hits, including a home run, scored twice and knocked in a pair of runs as Rookie-Advanced Idaho Falls beat Ogden 5-3. Robert Pehl had two hits and two RBIs, while Wander Franco had three hits. Starter Torey Deshazier gave up three runs on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts over six innings.

**Carter Hope allowed one run on two hits in five innings, but Rookie Burlington lost 5-3 at Danville. Hope walked three and struck out two. First baseman Joshua Banuelos had three hits and scored a run for the Royals.

To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to pgrathoff@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/pgrathoff